Ted Hawkins The Kershaw Sessions

Had any members of the late ’60s Stax community ever gone "unplugged," they might have sounded like Ted Hawkins. As raspy and soulful a tenor as they come, Hawkins was a busker from Venice Beach, CA, who remained largely undiscovered until just before his passing in 1994. This collection of solo recordings from between 1986 to 1989 also reveals his talents as a songwriter. He cries, moans and shouts his way through should-have-been classics like "Happy Hour" and "Dollar Tree," and offers two stellar versions of "Bring it On Home Daddy." His combination of simple guitar strumming, exclusively major chords, and traditional verse-chorus structures embodies the spirit of Hank Williams, but his passionate delivery recalls vintage Al Green. At 19 songs, it's a lengthy listen, but Hawkins' extraordinary gift as a vocalist makes each song captivating and joyous. (True North)